I learn from Ynet that a Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox jewish court has decided to ‘get medieval’ with its punishments (well more than usual anyway). Rather than putting beehives in the dock: they have arbitrarily sentenced a dog to death by stoning. (1) The reason for this weird sentence is that the rabbinical judges at the court - presumably a Beth Din - suspect ‘the hound was the reincarnation of a famous secular lawyer, who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago.’ (2)
This is bemusing as it suggests that ultra-Orthodox are still living in a world reminiscent of the less intelligent discourse in the Islamic lands and to a lesser extent in the medieval era in Europe. It is somewhat to be expected because in the ultra-Orthodox the tendency is towards mysticism (Kabbalism) as opposed to legalism (Talmudism) that is more prevalent among the Orthodox. (3) This focus on mysticism, especially on the idea of the interplay of phonetics and numerology, means that a lot of very strange ideas have an odd attraction to the ultra-Orthodox in particular the mystical ideas behind reincarnation in the Hindu sense that seems to have introduced itself into jewish thought. A little like how jewish texts frequently warn of how easy it is to overlook a spot of blood in an egg’s yolk thus immediately rendering it treif as opposed to its assumed kosher status.
The reincarnated dog apparently ‘scared the court’s visitors’ - although why is unstated other than the general observation that I have made that jews as a rule aren’t inclined to be animal lovers - and ‘refused’ to be kicked, insulted and otherwise shooed away by the kvetching ultra-Orthodox.
One of the panel of judges - as in rabbinical courts decisions are nearly always made by a panel of ‘learned rabbis’ - then had a brainwave: he decided that the dog must be the ‘reincarnation’ of said secular lawyer who had been ‘cursed’ by the rabbis some twenty years before. Although I am somewhat surprised the rabbis knew said secular lawyer was dead unless they’d kept tabs on his health or killed him.
Whatever maybe the cause of the rabbis intimate knowledge of an opponent’s health: the judge decided that the secular lawyers had been brought back as a dog - being a treif animal in Judaism - as a judgement by Yahweh for his offense to the rabbis (as the rabbis had apparently cursed the secular lawyer to come back as a dog). The sheer audacity of the rabbis to implicitly claim that Yahweh - supposedly omnipresent and omniscient - is only the paid piper, while they call the tune is a good example of the sheer chutzpah so common in Judaism, but yet so little known outside of it and to those who follow its literature.
How the rabbis recalled that they had precisely cursed the secular lawyer to become a dog is, of course, not stated, but never-the-less let’s not let the strangely specific and yet utterly implausible nature of jewish memory get in the way. One may observe however that jews don’t appear to have the best memories as they seem to frequently claim - in relation to the ‘Holocaust’ and other historical events - the physically impossible and then make very loud claims to be above nature when one asks so inappropriate a question as to how they can do the physically impossible.
Well they are the ‘chosen’ of Yahweh right? They apparently do greater things than us mere mortals daily.
The rabbis - apparently ‘offended’ (one notes the implication that if a jew is offended he is allowed to kill the offending party) - decided to pass judgement (again) on the reincarnated dog and ordered the dog stoned for which purpose they recruited the local jewish children. After all, jewish children are apparently suitable for being the executioners of the enemies of the ultra-Orthodox. The dog - having a touch more common sense than most of his accusers - decided to run off at this point and was hotly pursued by bloodthirsty jewish children. One can only hope the dog managed to make the court impure so the ultra-Orthodox had to spend a lot of time and effort making everything kosher once again.
To cap it all off the chief rabbi of the court Avraham Dov Levin decided to lie to the world (when it got picked up by both world’s press agencies) and claim that it hadn’t happened at all, but was caught with his hand down his chazan’s wife’s blouse when one of the court staff confirmed that it had occurred to a Hebrew language Israeli newspaper independently of him.
One wonders where Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz and Robert Spencer are now screaming about the ‘barbarity’ and ‘evil’ of ‘stoning’ in the modern age?
Oh wait… it is jews doing the stoning not Muslims.
After all can’t be consistent in our criticism if jews are involved can we?
(3) Probably still the most concise and readable introduction in English to this very strange intellectual landscape is Gershom Scholem, Ralph Manheim (Trans.), 1965, ‘On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism’, 1st Edition, Routledge and Kegan Paul: London